The Cincinnati International Wine Festival is upon us for the 23rd year! This Friday and Saturday, the grand tasting will be held at the convention center in downtown Cincinnati.
I will be posting as early as I can on Friday afternoon the highlights from the afternoon tasting, especially the surprises that I find. Every year my goal is to find something unexpected, unusual, or interesting. With 133 booths and a few hundred wines, I have never failed in this goal.
Tickets are still available for both Friday and Saturday nights and the list of wines seems both extensive and exciting. While it always nice to see a few favorite importers like Terry Theise(booth 11), Vintner Select(booth 14), Cutting Edge Selections(booth 32 thru 34) and many wineries from years past, for different reasons: Charles Smith/K Vinters (booth 4) from my wine bloggers conference in Walla Walla), Cline Cellars(booth 51) my first wine club, Henke Winery (booth 125) for teaching me that Norton can have a level of depth and quality, Veleta Wines (booth 56) for helping me learn that the story behind the wine helps to explain the taste, JAQK Cellars (booth 98) for beign able to highlight how different approaches to the a grape can have a very different taste in the bottle, and there is also a place for Bully Hill (booth 39) which was my first every winery experience in the Finger Lakes. I think that is some of the power of the taste of wine is that is can transport us back to a different time and place where we first got caught up in trying to learn as much as we could.
I’m also excited to try a few new things this year, a 2011 Chilean Pedro Ximenez (booth 2), Sivas Sonoma (booth 21) a new winery for me, the Italian selections from Dalla Terra (booth 48), hoping there might be a bottle of Pinot Meunier somewhere at a booth.
Beyond just my excitement, we always like to publish a few ways to get the most out of the overall experience. Here is our annual post of tips and tricks compiled from our and other blogger’s experiences on how to best survive this festival:
Please realize that these tips are geared for people who are heading to the Festival to try new wines, learn new things, and not get generally hammered. If insanely drunk is your goal, well … get a cab and/or a hotel.
So in no particular order, here are our tips for surviving a festival with hundreds of wines and even more people:
Well, I finally did it! I hosted my very first wine exchange a couple of weeks ago. It was not orchestrated as “formally” as I would’ve liked (yes, I am pretty neurotic about things going according to plan), but because everyone had a great time, I consider it a big success! Here is how it worked…
Each person brought two bottles of the same wine. One bottle was put aside for the exchange and the other was opened for tasting. I even found these really cute wine glass tags to help distinguish our glasses.
We ate a few snacks before we got started. I kept it simple with cheese and crackers, a variety of nuts, olives, some veggies, dark chocolates and cocoa dusted truffles.We began with white wines (sweet then dry) and moved on to the reds, which included quite a few blends. No one brought any dessert wines or sparkling varieties. I provided index cards for people to take notes but that kind of fell to the wayside as we started down the line of about eight different wines.
After the tastings, we moved on to the exchange. We drew names to pick the order and we allowed one steal. I ended up with 3 Girls Cabernet Sauvignon, which I really enjoyed.
Some of my other favorites were: Clean Slate 2011 Riesling, Cary Chen Riesling from Elk Creek Vineyards and Pro-mis-Q-ous, a California red table wine.
I think it would be fun to try this again but perhaps create a theme around it (like Summer Wines). Or maybe dictate the variety of wine people bring. It’s not such a bad deal…I ended up with the leftover wine. Oh, and we had a massage therapist friend scheduled to give shoulder massages but she fell ill. So I would incoporate that next time.
Stop the presses! Brad and Angelina are releasing their very own vino. No doubt they can as they own a 1,000-acre estate in Southwestern France. Plus they’re rich and famous.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt will release a 2012 vintage pink rosé, Miraval, sometime in mid-March – the grapes harvested from their vineyards in France. The wine, named after Pitt and Jolie’s Chateau, is a result of a partnership with French winegrower Marc Perrin.
Plans are already underway to release white wines this summer. Will you try the power couple’s new wines?
If you like tea and wine, this just may be your drink. I saw this in the March issue of InStyle Magazine – wine-flavored tea. Vintage TeaWorks makes a variety of loose teas in celebration of several wine flavors, including:
Each canister makes about 30 to 35 cups and price range is $15.99-$18.99. www.vintageteaworks.com.
FREE Friday Aisle Tastings at The Party Source
This Friday, February 22, The Party Source in Bellevue continues their Friday Wine in the Aisles Tastings. This week they will be pouring several Zinfandels and Zinfandel-based blends.
The Friday series takes place from 4-8 p.m. The tastings are free and no reservations are required. Here is a list of the next four tastings and the wines that will be featured:
February 22 – Zinfandels
March 1 – Chilean wines
March 8 - International wines & wines from Kentucky’s Lover’s Leap Winery
March 15 - South African wines
For details about these and other Wine Tastings happening at the Party Source, visit their website.
I tried the 2010 vintage of Jacob’s Creek Cab Merlot back in the fall at a party, but had forgotten about it until I found the photo on my phone. I decided to pick some up again as I remember liking it. And I was spot on. It is a delicious red blend.
I’ve written about Jacob’s Creek before – this post last spring about the Southeastern Australia winemaker’s Reserve wines.
The Cab Merlot is a Jacob’s Creek Classic wine (as opposed to Reserve). The Classic wines are touted as great everyday wines. And this full-bodied wine is very approachable.
The 2010 blend consists of 53% Cabernet and 47% Merlot. Lots of dark berry fruit flavors and smooth. There is a hint of mint with spice characteristics and a delicate toasted oak.
I am beginning to gravitate toward a lot of red blends these days. Any I should try? I am open to suggestions.
We recently had family in town – my husband’s brother and his family. Neil is a wine aficionado like me, and was thoughtful enough to bring some of his favorite wine to share.
Ghost Pines 2010 Merlot ($15-$17) is big and bold with dense flavors of black cherry, ripe mixed berries and hints of chocolate and toffee. This is a fat and juicy wine, not too tannic.
It’s smoother than most Merlots that I’ve tried – and I don’t drink Merlot very often – with a fairly long finish. It had a little bit of a sour aftertaste for me, but not enough to ruin the experience.
This winemaker’s blend features grapes from the winegrowing areas of Sonoma and Napa Counties, aged in French and American Oak.
If I were to buy a Merlot to keep in my wine reserve, this one would be at the top of my list. Thanks, Neil, for introducing me to to this wine.
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